Vaughn shrugged. “It’s not like the Russians know it’s us. That’s the whole point of using the fake suit, right? Plus, even if they did, it’s not like the Russians are exactly friendly to the Turk… um… Turkmens? Turkmeni? Last I heard, the Russians weren’t saying anything nice about them at all. They’re not going to be sharing information. So no biggie.”
Amy shook her head. “Maybe, but you’ve got to think bigger. This isn’t just espionage. This is politics. If we had something their rulers wanted, I could easily see them telling us that they’ll tell the world that we were there.”
Cassie let out a breath. “Exactly. That’s exactly the sort of thing I’m worried about.”
Daniel stepped closer in. “I’m thinking that if they knew we’d bugged the presidential palace, they’d be blackmailing us for everything we’d learn.”
Amy grinned. “They would, but here’s the funny thing, if the Russian goverment pushed too hard, Nick would blow up the bots, and not only would they get nothing, but the Turkmen might blame them.”
I blinked. “Wow. Yeah. We wouldn’t get anything out of it, but they’d get nothing too. Maybe worse than nothing.”
“That assumes they even know,” Vaughn said. “Anybody could be in that suit.”
“Not anybody,” Courtney said, raising her hand. “Former cape fan here. People put everything supers can do into online databases for fun and they rate them and have huge arguments about the ratings. Even if the government doesn’t have a database of supers, all they have to do is go online. If you search on flight and sonic powers, I bet Dixie Superman and the Rocket are in top ten.”
Jaclyn folded her arms across her chest. “And if you rate by strength of the sonic blast, I bet Dixie Superman goes straight to the top.”
“It’d be hilarious if they thought it was him,” Vaughn said. “Think about it. The guy’s really old if he’s alive, and I don’t think Izzy’s ever used her scream in public as Blue. At worst, they might find the ‘Dixie Supergirl’ identity she used with Evil Beatnik.”
Cassie turned toward Vaughn. “They’d notice. The armor isn’t unisex.”
Daniel nodded. “That’s true. It’s not.”
Camille smiled. “From the man who’s dating her.”
“I didn’t think it was that obviously female.” I hadn’t tried to hide it, but it wasn’t skin tight either. If anything, the armor looked a little blocky. I’d been more concerned with covering her face and all her skin–hiding who she was. Obviously I hadn’t gone far enough.
“Don’t worry about it too much,” Daniel said, nodding along with my thought. “Who knows what they’ll even remember? It was dark. The armor was all black, and if they expected to see a guy, they might see a guy anyway. For that matter, they can’t know for sure that she was even human. She might have been an android. It wouldn’t be the first time.”
Haley pursed her lips. “I’m a little worried about the jet. When Izzy flew into it, I could see the lit cabin. They might have too. When supers see an invisible jet, a lot of them will think of us.”
“And Wonder Woman,” Courtney said.
Everyone looked at her.
“Sorry. Bad joke.”
Jaclyn laughed. “It could be worse. Talk to Marcus about Wonder Woman sometime. The man who created her had issues.”
Courtney reddened. “I already did.”
“More seriously,” Jaclyn said, “I don’t know what more we can say about this. They’ve got all the clues they need to figure out it was us, but they might have missed them. All we can do is keep it quiet. If something happens, well, we’ll deal with it then.”
Cassie nodded along as she spoke. “You’re right. We don’t want to get paralyzed, but everyone keep your eyes out. If it looks like something’s happening, tell somebody and we’ll come up with a plan.”
A knock came from outside my lab, followed by a whisper. “Amy, I know you’re in there. Let me in.”
The voice sounded familiar.
Amy’s spell had left the open doorway shrouded in a reddish glow from our side.
“Crap. I need to let her in.” Amy weaved her way out of the group, and walked over to the doorway.
Moments later Samita stepped inside. Samita had dark hair, brown skin, and wore her Red Hex costume–a red robe. She carried a staff, but she wasn’t wearing the mask.
Seeing her, I knew two things. First that the upperclassmen were back, and second that they’d been in costume.
Samita looked around the lab, gave Cassie a wave, and asked Amy, “What have you been doing?”
At the same time, my League communicator beeped. It was Larry, my grandfather’s former sidekick, and current member of the League’s board.
I answered the call.
“Hey Nick,” Larry began. “I got a weird call just now.”
Larry’s tone of voice reminded me uncomfortably of my dad’s after I shot a (slightly modified) model rocket through a neighbor’s window.
“I know Red Victory. Now he’s Russian Victory, but back when we fought the Abominators, his dad was Red Victory, and he wanted to know how much you’d improved the Rocket suit. He just chased someone across Russia in the middle of the night. That person could hit Mach 4 and had sonic weapons that could shatter stone.”
“The Rocket suit can’t do that.” I thought I sounded pretty calm.
“That’s what I told him, and I think he believed me, but I fought Dixie Superman a few times, and I know your friends. If one of them happens to be descended from him, try not to make it too obvious too soon.”
“I’ll do what I can.”
“I can’t ask for more than that. I’ll do what I can to calm things down. Russian Victory says he’s not planning to share every suspicion he has with his government.”